Managing with Positive Reinforcement

Anyone can manage someone else, you check up on them, let them know what they are doing right or wrong. Its too easy, the difficult part is giving constructive criticism if you are not an assertive person. If you’re an introvert instead of an extrovert, it may be harder to manage at first but it can be worked around. It may not be your favorite task but you are capable of doing it.

The majority of us have been managed by someone who just points out our flaws. They do not do much positive reinforcement, which makes us feel negative whenever they want to talk with us. This for me was extremely pertinent in the military. There was very little positive reinforcement, it was mostly yelling for doing something wrong. There is a right of passage where this makes sense, such as basic training to make sure an individual is mentally tough enough to be in the military. Once you are at your unit, I believe is a time to start building positive rapport with your team. I saw this with some teams at my unit and some teams lacked this. The individuals with good team leaders and squad leaders who took this approach, seemed to have better time at drill, then those who did not.

One drill we were doing weapons qualifications, my job was to run the ammo shack. I had a group of about 5 guys to help me out. I assigned them all tasks, showed them what I expected out of them, and then let them take it from there. I would check in to see if they needed my help with anything or if they had any questions throughout our shift. While I checked in, I would praise them for doing a good job. I would step in to let some of them take breaks when things would slow down. We had a very successful shift and at the end of it, one of the guys brought up to me how it was the best experience they had in the military. A few of the other guys agreed and said they really enjoyed working under me. Throughout my time in the National Guard, I had some team leaders and squad leaders who ran their team in a positive way and I was very happy to learn from them.

When I was at the Chippewa Valley Technical College for business management, I learned a lot about this type of management style. It was a combination of my schooling and watching other managers that made me realize the benefit of managing and pointing out people’s strengths not weaknesses. There are times to point out individuals weaknesses and what they did wrong but make sure to point out things they are doing well and give them ways to turn their weaknesses or problems into their strengths and solutions.

Pointing out individuals strengths and praising them is not the main point to managing effectively. It helps make the experience a lot better and allows you to keep happy team members, what you need to do to really make this work is give your team members ownership. They need to feel like they own the project or task they are performing, this will make managing them much easier. That however, is for a different blog. If you are interested in that, the link is here.

Managing can be a very fun experience, if you set it up properly. We are working on managing our teams more effectively at Stable Living to help build a strong team. Watch out for those future blogs.

Your life Tutor

-Shaun Tutor


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